1 Tree Cards

Oct 12, 2020 | Meet The Member

As part of our Meet The Member series, we asked

1 Tree Cards to tell us a bit about their story.

What is the name of your company?

1 Tree Cards

When did you first start the company?

1st June 2016

Where is your business based?


Why did you decide to set up your company?

After moving back to the UK after living abroad, my wife and I were looking to start a new business. We had previously partnered with tree planting projects through a business we were running in Canada and caught the tree planting bug! A magical chance encounter brought Sylvain, the 1 Tree Cards artist, into our lives and he wanted to use his art to do good in the world. Having received some questionable same-sex cards, we saw that there was a need for more inclusive cards on the market so with all this in mind, the idea for 1 Tree Cards was born.

What is the Unique Selling Point of your business? What makes your products particularly special?

We plant 1 tree for every card that we sell in an area of mass deforestation. We also include a seed token with every card that can be grown into beautiful flowers that help feed declining bee populations.

What is your best selling Greeting Card?

Our Tree Wishes Festive Box is our bestseller. This year, it has won a Gift of the Year Award, a Stationary Award and is a finalist for the Henries!

How do you sell your products? (Online only, wholesale, via a physical shop etc)

Online & Wholesale

What do you like most about the industry?

We have met some absolute gems in the industry. Starting as newbies in any industry is difficult so we were very lucky to meet great publishers at trade shows who encouraged and guided us. Also having the GCA has made a huge difference to us. We became members almost straight away and it is definitely one of the best decisions we made. Just knowing we have people we can call who are supportive, extremely knowledgeable, always willing to help, and are just generally lovely to speak to makes scary situations seem manageable. It makes you feel like you always have someone in your corner.

How can people find you?

https://1treecards.com / hello@1treecards.com

Hot Topic Additional Question: Diversity and Inclusion are key values to the GCA and we’d love to know more about what your company does to support Diversity and Inclusion?

We are a BAME and LGBTQ+ owned business. Myself, my wife Michiko and our artist Sylvain are all members of the queer community. Michiko and I are both bi-racial so we are already quite a “diverse” team and this definitely impacts our cards and how 1 Tree Cards interacts with the world.

It is very important for us to work towards creating an ethical and more just society for us all. Until all of us are free, none of us are free and this underpins one of the huge reasons why we decided to plant trees. Mass deforestation and mass poverty often go hand in hand so, while planting trees is great for the planet, it also helps redistribute wealth to where it is needed most. A lot of these areas are in states of poverty because of politics and issues around colonization and awful trade deals. Redistributing finances is our way of recognizing the vast privilege we hold by being lucky enough to be born in a European country, with access to education, and relatively decent human and worker rights. It’s our way of taking a small and simple step towards trying to right some of the wrongs of the world.

Hot Topic Additional Question: The GCA is committed to ensuring that our industry is environmentally friendly and we’re keen to hear more about your business does to help the environment.

As a team of environmentalists, our aim is always to have a net positive impact on our planet. We believe in a circular economy and so only use 100% recycled paper and cardstock. While cards are considered very special, they are 99% of the time, single-use items, so it seems wild to us to cut down trees to make virgin paper, only for it to go into the recycling system at best and at worst, into landfill where it’s breakdown releases methane. Recycled paper generally uses much less water and energy to produce and it creates less air and water pollution than its virgin counterparts. We did a lot of research and found a great supplier who is also an ethically eco-minded company. The stock all comes from Europe and is carbon neutral.

We also ensure all of our cards and wrap are fully recyclable. Like most industries, we see a lot of greenwashing going on, for example, with companies stating that foiled products can be recycled. However, recycling centers that have the ability to separate foil from paper are few and far between and the council recycling facilities typically do not offer this resource-intensive service. So, while these cards may theoretically be recyclable, in practice, they are often not.

We did a lot of research into printers too, as printing can be very bad for the environment. We are proud to work with a truly eco-minded printer in the UK, who also plant trees through the National Trusts Carbon Capture Scheme and use all renewable energy. They also have a zero to landfill policy which we think is fantastic.

We moved into a fulfillment center last year and sent them all of our recycled and recyclable eco-friendly packing materials. They were so impressed with how well the paper tapes and paper packaging worked and, after talking to them about the devastating effects of single-use plastic, they have now switched the whole fulfillment center over to paper tape and fully recycled and recyclable packaging.

We offer our cards naked or in compostable sleeves. Not all biodegradable or compostable sleeves are created equally so this is another area that required a lot of research. The compostable sleeves we use are made in the UK from renewable sources such as beet and potato crops. They are certified to EN13432 standards, which means they are both biodegradable and compostable and can break down in industrial as well as at-home composting facilities.

A lot of thought has gone into making our cards as eco as possible, even down to our stickers. We use a compostable sticker on our compostable sleeves, so the whole sleeve can be removed and popped into the compost bin, making this an easy step for the consumer. As all of our cards have a seed token inside, this is stuck down using a 100% recycled and recyclable sticker, which again was chosen with the consumer in mind. No ones wants to sit and peel unrecyclable stickers from a recyclable card or a non-compostable sticker from a compostable sleeve. As business owners we have to make green practices easy and accessible for consumers, otherwise, they are just gimmicks.

We do as much as we can in the UK, minimizing our transport around the country to reduce our carbon footprint and we chose a fulfillment center close to our printer because of this. Our 100% recycled envelopes are made in the UK along with our biodegradable sleeves and all of our stickers. Our seed tokens are made from 100% pre-consumer recycled cotton and are the only thing we source from abroad but we have these shipped by sea to avoid any air miles.

Finally, the most obvious and perhaps significant way that we try to leave a net positive impact on the planet is through reforestation and growing flowers. Our cards give tangible ways for people to do good, through planting trees and feeding bees. It doesn’t take one person doing something perfectly to change the world – it takes whole communities working together, taking steps, learning and creating change and that is the essence of 1 Tree Cards. Alone, our tree planting potential is small, but together, we can create forests!

Is there anything else that you would like to add/highlight?

I’d just like to say how amazing it is to see such a switch to more eco and ethical cards. We’ve seen a massive change just in the 2 years we’ve been around with more people wanting to do good with their purchasing power. The world is changing and we’re so happy to be part of such a forward thinking industry.

Are you a member of the GCA? Would you like to be featured in a Meet The Member article? If so, get in touch with the GCA.

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